Egypt signs deal to build $2 billon solar panel factory with China’s GCL

Egypt has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China’s GCL Group to erect a $2 billion worth solar panel facility that will manufacture panels capable of producing 5 gigawatts (GW) annually.

According to the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram, which reported the news on Thursday, the MOU was signed by Egypt’s ministry of military production on Wednessday, though details about the location or time-frame of the project were not mentioned.

In 2014, the Egyptian government had announced extensive plans to invest in renewable energy targeting 4.3 GW of wind and solar projects to be installed over three years, however, many investors pulled out as a result of contract disagreements.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has promised to revive the economy which has struggled since a 2011 uprising that scared away investors and tourists, thus affecting its main sources of foreign currency.

Blessed with abundance of land, sunny weather and high wind speeds, Egypt is a prime location for renewable energy sources. The renewable equipment market is potentially worth billions of dollars. Africa’s second largest economy intends to supply 20 percent of generated electricity from renewable sources by 2022, with wind providing 12 percent, Hydro power 5.8 percent, and Solar 2.2 percent.

Egypt’s solar energy plan aims to install 3.5 GW by 2027; including 2.8 GW of PV (photovoltaic) and 700 MW of CSP (concentrated solar power). The strategy also plans to generate 7.2 GW (12 percent of generated electricity) from wind by 2022.

The transcontinental country’s plan envisions significant private sector involvement as the private sector will take the lead on 67 percent of the plan. Over the next three to five years, the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy plans to add 51.3 GW to current installed capacity.